'Cattle on the Line' by Josephine L. Martin

Every evening in spring and summer we go down to the river and watch the trains gliding in and out of the station just beyond.  Their movements are hooks on which time hangs, keeping it linear.  When the days shorten and we stop for winter, the infinity of time and space tug relentlessly at every bristle, every fold in my skin, and I feel myself always about to fall upwards into the sky.

Today the wind is cold and your skirt is dancing around your ankles, but you don’t seem to mind.  17:3817:4318:01, all on time.  Still no sign of the 17:52, that roaming silver-red cage where we first overlapped and then quietly began to seep into one.  Perhaps it’s been cancelled.  Broken down train, driver unwell, cattle on the line.  I’m worried you’re getting chilly now so we head back home.  

I don’t have to see it every day.  I am a grown man, and it is just a train.  But I will spend the whole of tomorrow looking forward to seeing it again.

I run your bath, and the room fills with suffocating steam.  You always loved it so hot you almost couldn’t bear it.  Silently I undress you and lower you in, your eyes meeting mine as you slide slowly under.  I think I see love, but I cannot be sure. 

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